Chinese shophouse with green door and two green windows with two columns

Penang has to be one of my favourite destinations in South East Asia, and I believe that this tropical island is totally underrated and deserves more recognition. Located off the west coast of Malaysia, at the crossroads of Eastern and Western trade routes, the island of Penang is a melting pot of cultures with Malay, Chinese, Indian and British influence.

This mix of cultures has resulted in the most unique heritage, food and architecture in the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the city of George Town. Traditional temples, homes, hotels and shophouses mingle with modern buildings, and you can feel like you’re in India one moment, cross the road and you feel like you have travelled to China.

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In this post, I am taking a stroll through the streets of George Town as an alternative Penang city tour, and celebrating the quirkiness and diversity of this multiculturalism and how it is reflected on the local architecture.

Penang Chinese Shophouses


Chinese shophouse with red door and two red windows
Peranakan home with a ji-ho (plaque) with the family name above the door


Chinese shophouse with green door and two green windows with two columns
Some of the colours are just so charming!


Blue Chinese shophouse with brown door and two brown windows and two pink lanterns
I think this is my favourite!
Decayed blue Chinese shophouse with black door and two red windows
Or maybe this one… I love them all!


Chinese shophouse with wooden door and two wooden windows and two red lanterns
Peranakans were the early Chinese immigrants to the Malay Peninsula
Facade with yellow door and a blue arch in the distance
Beautiful tiles and colours
Chinese shophouse with red wooden door and two red windows
A Peranakan home with its own front garden

Penang is also known for its street food
Book your foodie tour here


Penang Temples

But it’s not just the cute little shophouses of George Town that show the island’s multiculturalism. This diversity means that there are places of worship that serve the different faiths that harmoniously live in the island.

Chinese temple door with green railings and Chinese figures on the door
Doors of a Chinese Temple with painted protective deities
Hindu deity on a blue arched window from a Hindu temple
A window to the Hindu Temple in Penang Hill


Penang Street Art

Penang is also well known for its street art. The last few years have seen a resurgence that was kicked off in 2012 by the municipal council, who commissioned Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic to bring a new lease of life to the streets of George Town. This art plays with objects and architectural features, so here are couple more doors and windows that have been enhanced by street artists.

Cute dolls painted on a purple wall next to a white window with a yellow and blue disk
A cute little window used to display art
Window painted on a wall with a giant cat looking out
But if you don’t have a window, just paint one!
Door surrounded by an iron sculpture
One of the many Penang Iron caricatures enhancing a dull door
Boy on a motorbike painted on an old door
Boy on a Bike by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic (without anyone spoiling it)

So tell me: Have you been to Penang? Which style of doors and windows is your favourite?
Let me know in the comments!

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Cute Doors and Windows in Penang, Malaysia

Cute Doors and Windows in Penang, Malaysia




  1. Christine says:

    I’m totally obsessed with unique doors! Penang has so many creative and stunning doors! Your photos bring them to life!

  2. Penny says:

    Not only are the doors beautiful but I love the creativity and the artwork in some. We were in Malaysia a few months back but we did not have time to visit Penang. I think we will make a trip there soon enough. There is so much left to see in the country!

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks Penny. Malaysia is an incredible country and there’s so much to see! But Penang has to me my favourite stop there. Go on your next visit if you have the chance. You’ll love it! 🙂

  3. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    Lovely photos! I’ve been to Malaysia twice, but only managed to visit KL, Kota Kinabalu and Cameron Highlands. Penang is next on the list since its known for its nice hotels and food 😀

  4. My Travel Tricks says:

    Can’t believe how beautiful it is there!! I see so many stunning pictures of the street art in Penang but seems like everyone is just walking past these doors! Really good pictures as well. Would love to go there!

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks! Penang is great for street art, but there’s a lot more to it than that. To me the little houses and the street food are major highlights too. It’s a place with so much character! 🙂

  5. Drusilla says:

    Hi Teresa,
    What a lovely collection. You have many there that I haven’t seen, despite many mornings mooching around Georgetown. Did you keep a list of the street names?

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you so much Drusilla. I’m so happy you enjoyed it 🙂
      I’m afraid that I haven’t kept the street names but most of them were in the vicinity of the Blue Mansion and Chinatown. I hope that helps 🙂

  6. Jasmah Fiore says:

    I lived and went to college..Dental School in Penang. The island is a hidden gem. Thank you for your high lights on their unique door decors/designs..a direct reflection on multiculturalism of the people.. Love it!

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks Jasmah. How lucky of you to have spent some time in Penang. Its multiculturalism is one of the things that makes this place so wonderful. I love it too, and I’d love to go back one day 🙂

  7. Hang Around The World says:

    We have never been there in Malaysia so far but we’d like to plan a trip later next year! These photos are simply amazing and show how charcteristic this place is. It was a good reading 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! If you make it to Malaysia next year, don’t miss Penang. It’s a fabulous place and the street food is delicious! 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks Paula! I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I hope one day you make it to Malaysia, and especially to Penang. So so beautiful! 🙂

  8. Sara Broers says:

    What a fun post! I love all the colors and architecture. It’s fun to see the different doors, windows and of course, the paint color! What’s fascinating to me is that many call this art and others would say it’s nothing.

    • Teresa says:

      Thank Sara! You’re so right! This is art in its own way for sure. All the facades are so similar but so different at the same time 🙂

  9. Zoya says:

    I totally love this post! The Chinese and Western influence is very evident in the architecture. Isn’t it just amazing how different cultures can influence architectural styles?

    George Town looks like a great place to explore. I can already see myself being mesmerized by all these lovely colors and styles, for hours. Totally adding this to my list! Thanks!

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you Zoya! I’m so glad you like it! George Town is a real melting pot of cultures and that’s why I love it! I hope you get to visit some time 🙂

  10. Wanderlust Vegans says:

    You have a great eye for style. A lot of these awesome doors and windows would go unnoticed if you weren’t keeping an eye out. It is interesting once you start noticing something how you can find some cool stuff. I like the colour and design of these places. It is interesting how some look Chinese and others Indian.

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you so much! That’s such a lovely thing to say! There is always beauty all around us but sometime we don’t really pay much attention to it. Penang is full of interesting and eye-catching things wherever you look and I guess the doors and windows were what caught my imagination there 🙂

  11. Ling Ge says:

    Wow, these are some amazing doors and wall art! I wished I paid more attention to these because some of them are very vibrant and intricate! Maybe will be keeping more of an eye out for them.

  12. Kim Hogg says:

    Damn, those are some good doors! Gorgeous photography too. I went to Penang about 13 years ago, before my door obsession materialised. This has made me want to go back!

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you! I know how you feel. There are few destinations a I’d like to revisit so I can obsess about the doors and windows too ?

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